Ban Ma Maeh School has been in operation since 1959. This boarding school educates and provides accommodations for orphaned and underprivileged children in the remote hill country of Chiang Dao.
Ban Ma Maeh School was started by the villagers of Ban Ma Maeh in 1959. The villagers asked for a teacher from the government to come to teach at the school. It was a very small school that taught only 40 students which were all the villagers’ kids.
In 1978, there was a big flood caused by deforestation and 3 villagers were killed. After the disaster, the villagers decided to move the school to a safer place. With the relocation of the school, more kids from nearby villages flocked to the school for admission.
In 2002, there was a huge government’s war on drugs which tore many families apart. Guilty parents were sent to jail and some were even killed during the crackdown. Many children have yet to learn the painful fact that their parents were dead and they were orphans. 46 children were forced to join the school. The school then became a boarding school.
The school currently has 118 students and 7 teachers. The school is now accessible by road. Under the Government’s Basic Education Commission, the school is running on a meager allowance of 10 Baht (30cents USD) per student. This paltry amount is not enough for the bare survival of Ban Mae Maeh School. It must serve three meals a day – not just lunches like others. Furthermore, as the number of the students increases, the dormitories for students are running out of space.
Because of insufficient beds, some students have to sleep on the cold floor which sometimes causes flu and other communicable diseases among the students. Over the years, the building has suffered wear and tear, with the roof leaking and walls breaking down, it has made living condition extremely difficult during seasonal changes. The school is 18 kilometers away from the Chiang Dao hospital so it is very inconvenient for sick students to seek treatment cure.
The school needs a better and more stable food plan and hopes the public can help by donating money or food directly to them. If the students are well fed, the next step would be to improve the living conditions of the school by having cleaner and safer living and study areas. The school is also desperately seeking extra teachers to watch over the students at night due to security reasons. However, the school has to pay for the extra teachers on it’s own without any help from the government,which makes it almost impossible for the school to afford the payment.
Skal Club Chiang Mai & Northern Thailand has supported the Ban Ma Maeh School for the past two years. Chiang Mai Trekking Tour Thailand is an active member of this Skal Club. Chiang Mai Trekking Tour Thailand donated in cash and kind to the Ban Mae Maeh School and participated in the donation rally of January 12, 2014, during which many donations were gifted to the school. Skal Chiang Mai also helps financing the construction of a new dormitory.